News Scan for Aug 06, 2018

Saudi MERS cases
Echovirus in Europe
Variant flu in California
H5 avian flu in Asia

Saudi Arabian health ministry notes 30 new MERS cases

After several months of silence, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) recently uploaded information on 30 new MERS-CoV case detections on its website, including a cluster of 11 household cases from Najran detected in late May and early June.

The 11 Najran MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases were all in men. The most recent case involves a 41-year-old Saudi man in Dammam who was hospitalized for MERS on Aug 3. He is listed in stable condition, and the MOH said he had direct contact with camels.

Nine cases were recorded in July, 8 in June, and 13 in May. All case-patients are listed in stable condition except 3, and the MOH notes two deceased patients, including a 68-year-old man from Arar city who acquired MERS in a hospital setting. The other death occurred in a 57-year-old man from Jeddah who had camel contact.

At this time, the MOH is not providing the cumulative number of MERS cases since the virus was first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
MOH Epidemic Events webpage


Northern Europe sees spike in echovirus infections

A new report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said that Scandinavia-area nations and the United Kingdom reported a surge of cases of echovirus 30 (E30) in 2018.

Based on surveillance data, 259 E30 cases from Denmark (38), Latvia (1), the Netherlands (85), Norway (37), Sweden (21) and the United Kingdom (England and Scotland; 77) have been reported since January. Twenty-two percent of cases have occurred in infants ages 0 to 3 months, and 38% in 26- to 45-year-olds.

According to the ECDC, Denmark reported that 61% of its E30 detections were from cerebrospinal fluid specimens, which can signal a severe infection. In total, 149 out of 167 patients (89%) were reported with central nervous system symptoms from the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

E30 is a non-polio enterovirus that causes aseptic meningitis outbreaks worldwide, usually in 5-to 6-year intervals, the ECDC said. E30 is usually transmitted in an oral-to-oral or oral-to-fecal route, but no transmission route has been clearly identified in these current outbreaks.
Aug 3 ECDC report


Possible variant flu cases reported in California with possible pig link

The Public Health Department (PHD) of San Luis Obispo County in California is investigating several potentially variant flu cases to determine if they have any connection to a case of influenza in a pig at the California Mid-State Fair.

Details are sparse, but the PHD said several people who had extended contact with pigs at the fair now have "tested positive for an influenza virus that may be different from viruses that commonly circulate among people during flu season."

"At this time, the Public Health Department does not have any laboratory confirmation that the cases are linked to pigs.  In each of the laboratory-confirmed local cases of influenza being investigated, patients have recovered on their own within several days," the department said on its website.

Variant influenza cases often occur after swine contact at county fairs, but these are the first cases reported in California this year. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 435 variant flu cases in the United States since 2005. Most cases resulted in mild illness.
Aug 3 San Luis Obispo PHD notice

Jul 6 CDC report


Malaysia, Vietnam report high-path H5 avian flu outbreaks in poultry

Malaysia has reported a highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu outbreak at a layer farm, its first in more than a year, and Vietnam reported three more H5N6 outbreaks, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

In Malaysia, the outbreak location is a commercial layer farm in the state of Sabah, in the country's eastern region on the island of Borneo. The farm reported high numbers of chicken deaths to state veterinary officials on Jul 27, and investigation and sampling took place on the same day. The virus killed 3,000 of 28,000 susceptible birds, and the survivors were culled as part of the response to the outbreak.

The report said the outbreak was the first to hit Sabah state. Malaysia's last H5N1 outbreak occurred in March 2017, which struck backyard poultry in Kelantan state on the northeast side of the peninsular part of the country.

Meanwhile, Vietnam reported three more H5N6 outbreaks in two northern provinces, all involving village poultry. One was in Nghe An province and the others were in Hai Phong. The outbreaks began from Jul 28 to Jul 30, killing 1,590 of 12,620 birds. Officials culled the remaining birds, and other responses steps included vaccination and enhanced surveillance and disinfection.

The country reported its last H5N6 outbreak in March of this year.
Aug 6 OIE report on H5N1 in Malaysia
Aug 3 OIE report on H5N6 in Vietnam

Newsletter Sign-up

Get CIDRAP news and other free newsletters.

Sign up now»


Unrestricted financial support provided by

Bentson Foundation Gilead 
Grant support for ASP provided by


  Become an underwriter»